20 Jan 2022
Understanding the awareness and attitudes of the local community living in and around protected areas toward wildlife conservation programs is indispensable in identifying the management programs and proposing long-term strategies for sustainable development (Govind and Jayson, 2021; Mamo, 2015). Local knowledge is highlighted as a valuable data source to developing ecological study method, and informing regional conservation prioritization for highly threatened species (Newton et al., 2008; Turvey et al., 2015). However, existing data on people’s awareness toward wildlife conservation is still poorly understood in Southeast Asia, one of the highest biodiversity regions, and is struggling in illegal wildlife hunting crisis (Gray et al., 2018). Almost nothing is known about the perceptions and attitudes of residents adjacent to Phong Dien Nature Reserve (NR) - one of the most biologically diverse area in the Annamite Mountain range, central Vietnam. This area is among stronghold habitats for globally endangered species such as Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), Giant Muntjac (Muntiacus vuquangensis), Edwards's Pheasant (Lophura edwardsi) (USAID, 2018). However, deforestation is still going on, affecting negatively on the biodiversity of the area, even it has been increasing in recent years (USAID, 2018). Especially, our recent survey showed that illegal hunting still occurs regularly in local communities around Phong Dien NR (Le, 2021). Thus, an intensive survey to understand the current levels of local people’s awareness and implement conservation activities to improve the local community's awareness to conserve wildlife species in Phong Dien NR is crucial and necessary. The project will help managers of the PA to determine future directions of outreach and educational programs in the region.
Here, we focus on the aim to assess awareness and attitudes of local communities, who live around Phong Dien NR toward wildlife conservation. For the follow-up activities, we will implement a series of conservation activities to enhance the awareness of local communities. The outcome of the project will be the foundation for Phong Dien NR’s managers, NGOs, policymakers, and conservationists to propose long-term conservation strategies. To achieve that goal, the project will focus on below objectives:
1. Assessing the knowledge and skills on wildlife conservation of Phong Dien NR’s staff.
2. Assessing the awareness and attitude toward wildlife conservation of local communities in the buffer zone of Phong Dien NR.
3. Implementing rising conservation activities, and education programs for local communities.
4. Proposing appropriate recommendations for building community-based conservation for Phong Dien NR.